Travel Tips > Travel Advice - FCO Travel Aware > Know the Law Before You Travel

Know the law: Why taking e-cigarettes to Dubai will get you into trouble

FCO Travel Aware

Giving up smoking? Don't take your e-cigarettes to Dubai: E-cigarettes are illegal in Dubai and if they are discovered they will be confiscated and there could be a penalty.

It's important to remember that all countries are different, in their laws, religious beliefs and customs. Just because something, such as an e-cigarette, is legal in the UK, you can't assume that it will be legal in the country you are travelling to.

To help Brits avoid getting into trouble abroad, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) urges British travellers to research local laws and customs in their holiday destination before they travel.

With regards to Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Foreign Office states the following on its travel advice pages:

"UAE laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK."

And it's not just far flung countries or those with different religious beliefs that you need to worry about. Laws around behaviour in public places, alcohol, drugs, smoking, and prescription medication vary in different countries and you should make sure you are aware of the rules before you travel.

If you are intending to drive in a foreign country you should also make sure that you are aware of the rules of the road.Below are some of the more unexpected laws which you should be aware of if you are planning a trip:

  • It is illegal to feed the pigeons in Venice.
  • Chewing gum on the Mass Rapid Transit system in Singapore is strictly prohibited and will result in a fine.
  • Concealing the face in public places in France is illegal. This includes balaclavas, full veils or any other garment or mask that is used to conceal the face.
  • Although the Netherlands has a reputation for being tolerant on the use of soft drugs, this is only in designated areas. Being caught using or carrying prohibited substances can result in a prison sentence.
  • In Florence, Italy, there are large fines for eating and drinking in the immediate vicinity of churches and public buildings.
  • It is illegal to take mineral water in to Nigeria.
  • In the Maldives public observance of religion, other than Islam, is prohibited for locals and visitors.
  • Sat navs which warn of upcoming speed cameras are illegal in cars in France, whether they are in use or not.

One of the best places to start when researching your holiday destination is the travel advice pages provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the Gov.uk website.

Foreign Office - Travel Advice

These pages are regularly updated and should provide the key information you need before venturing to a country you are unfamiliar with - including information on local laws and customs and entry requirements.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also advise that you buy travel insurance every time you go abroad. Travel insurance is designed to protect you against the cost of emergency medical treatment if you fall ill or have an accident whilst you are away. It also covers your repatriation back to the UK by air ambulance if medically necessary.

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